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Are You Networking Effectively?

Research says that over 60% of people employed got their job through networking. Often, these jobs were never even advertised, making them part of the “hidden job market”. Effective networking provides your access to unadvertised jobs.

You know how so-and-so knew about a job at his sister-in-law’s brother’s friend’s company? That’s how networking works. It’s strictly word-of-mouth information. It’s all about who you know. Sometimes, companies receive applicants for a position before it even becomes open, because other employees knew the job was going to become available and they let their network people know. If a company can get a position filled without paying costly advertising fees or having to hire a recruiter, they will. You need to understand how to network effectively in order to access the hidden job market.

Everyone is a potential network contact, even people who are standing in line with you at Wal-Mart, so be careful of how you appear in public! Don’t go to the grocery store in your pajamas with your hair sticking up. Your public appearance includes your online presence. Limit what is visible to the general public on Facebook and Google to ensure a professional exterior. People you may potentially include in your network include: your current and former colleagues and supervisors, membership affiliation members, church brethren, online and social networking site groups, neighbors, family, friends, acquaintances, and even your car mechanic and hairdresser. Consider everyone. To keep from feeling overwhelmed, you may want to divide your large network into smaller manageable groups with one special group being for those who work or formerly worked in your industry or work at companies where you would like to work. Decide which groups will receive your special attention and which groups might be on the back burner most of the time, but maintain regular contact with everyone.

An efficient organizational system is essential in order to keep track of everyone’s contact information, dates you discuss the job market with each person, good leads generated from talking with that person, and if they are a fellow job-seeker include what type of work they would like. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen-and-paper notebook or computer software, as long as you are able to document those things and know when it’s time to contact people you haven’t connected with for a specified period of time. Set and schedule for yourself a number of people each day that you need to contact and record the date and results of each discussion. Follow up on any promising information immediately. Keep up-to-date on discussions in each of your online groups and often, comment politely on what others say.

Develop an “elevator speech” for people you meet since they may potentially become part of your network. It’s a thirty-second summary of who you are professionally and what your strengths and accomplishments are - what your value is to a potential employer. Let them know what type of work you desire. Give this speech with enthusiasm and a smile. Have a business card handy to give each person who receives your elevator speech so that if they come across positions that sound just like you, they can contact you. Everyone in your network should have one of your cards whether it is an electronic business card or a physical one.

Remember that networking is a two-way street. Anytime you hear of job openings, think of or look up people in your network who might be interested in that job, and contact them. If people know you are keeping them in mindFree Web Content, they are more likely to keep you in mind and contact you if they hear of an opening.

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Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer crafting resumes designed to showcase your value with impact and is a leading job search industry expert. Her website also features articles to aid you in your job search. Free comprehensive resume reviews as well as full resume and cover letter writing services offered. ~Pages for the next chapter in your career...~

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